Sinclair Broadcast Group reported net broadcast revenues of
$220 million in the second quarter, an increase of 38.1% vs. the second quarter
last year. The company had operating income of $72 million in the period,
compared to $58.2 million in the prior year period.
"Second quarter results were excellent, as political
advertising spending in the quarter was almost triple our expectations,"
commented David Smith, president and CEO of Sinclair. "Despite the
markets' concern about the global economy, our core revenues on a same station
basis grew 4.6%."
Following an active M&A period for Sinclair, including
the acquisition of six Newport TV stations for $412.5 million, Smith said
Sinclair remains in growth mode. "We continue to position the company for
long term growth as we take advantage of what we believe to be undervalued
assets relative to historic public equity multiples," he said. "In
the second quarter, we closed on the acquisition of the Freedom Communications
television stations and recently announced the acquisition of six of the
Newport Television stations. To date, we have announced approximately $1
billion in total assets acquired or to be acquired projected to represent
almost $150 million of incremental blended cash flow."
Political revenues were $11.4 million in the second quarter,
vs. $1.2 million in second quarter of 2011. Local net broadcast revenues were
up 32.1% in the quarter, while national net broadcast revenues increased 58.2%.
earnings report mentioned the "assignable option" arrangement announced
between Fox and Sinclair in May, which could potentially see the two
broadcasters swap stations in markets that include Baltimore, Raleigh and
Cincinnati, among others. The options are exercisable through March 30, 2013.
"The agreement calls for up to $52.7 million in cash
payments to be made to Fox," said Sinclair, "of which the company
paid $25 million in June 2012. Should Fox exercise their option, the amount
owed by [Sinclair] decreases by $25 million."
Sinclair expects third quarter station net broadcast
revenues to be around $223.1 million to $228.1 million, up 46.9% to 50.2% as compared
to third quarter 2011.
"With second quarter results coming in better than
expected, those same drivers are adding even more momentum as we enter the back
half of the year," said David Amy, EVP and CFO.
Sinclair owns and operates, programs or provides sales
services to 74 television stations in 45 markets.